Tuesday, 24 March 2009

BBC News comments are broken

Tried to post on this http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7955205.stm but it failed :( Didn't want to lose it though.


The harrowing trend to notice amongst government statements on these issues of technology, privacy and civil liberties is the focus on the meaningless technology arguments rather than the important freedom related ones.


To me the idea of "a profiling tool which examines a child's behaviour and social background to identify potential child offenders" makes a sickening mockery of the notions of innocent until proven guilty, freedom of speech and expression and equality. I don't care if it's encrypted or 'secure', or how much such a thing would cost, it simply shouldn't exist in the first place!


The same sidestepping of the main topic can be seen in most of these stories, even across the world. There was an article posted recently about Australia's Internet blacklist, and whether it is an offence to the human right to Free Speech. The conclusion was that such a blacklist might slow down the Internet, and wouldn't stop everything, which once again I don't much care about.


Technology is advancing ferociously, and will continue to do so. Making important decisions based on technological issues sets an unnerving precedent. In the Australia example, in a few years or decades time I'm sure Internet latencies will be so low that such a blacklist would be unnoticable. From the misdirected conclusions of that article then it should, since the technological issues raised will have been fixed.


In the case of these databases, if technological advances such as quantum entanglement cryptography fix the security concerns, and supercomputer-esque processing power and storage are available for pennies, does this mean that all such databases should be made? Of course it doesn't, yet that is the argument being put forth by the government.


I call to reject any spin-ridden arguments based on petty implementation details and keep the focus on where it matters, the reasons for and against even contemplating the possible existence of such systems.


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